30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

I have my reasons...

Baseball Nut asked...

Why do you collect? (Seems like an overly simplified question but since you have committed to answering it as honestly as possible, it could be a very interesting answer.)

This is a great question that required a lot of thought.  And after five or ten minutes, I realized it doesn't boil down to one simple answer. 

Here are five reasons I collect... in no specific order:

Reason #1: I'm a huge sports & pop culture fan.  And it just so happens that both of these are popular subjects in the trading card industry.

Reason #2: I enjoy the social aspect of this hobby.  Card collecting & sports memorabilia allow me interact with others who share a similar interest... whether it's talking to collectors at card shops & card shows, trading with people online (on forums & blogs), or discussing hobby related topics with other bloggers and collectors.

Reason #3: Some people can't live without going to the gym.  Others need drugs to get them through their day.  I'm pretty sure I'm addicted to collecting pieces of cardboard.  I've stopped at various points in my life, but something always leads me back to them.

Reason #4: I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).  Since I was a child, I've always enjoyed organizing and sorting things.  It started with dumping out boxes of crayons and organizing them by color and eventually led to the shoebox full of 1979 Topps baseball cards that my neighbor gave me.  The rest is history.

Reason #5: It brings a smile to my face.  Don't get me wrong, there are times I think about how much money I've spent during my lifetime on cards and it bums me out.  But those moments are the minority and don't occur often.  I love this hobby and it makes me happy.

I'm sure there are other reasons for collecting... but that's all I have at the present time.  Maybe I'll read some of your responses and update my answer.
Are you ready?  It's your turn:

Why do you collect?

1 Point - Leave your response below.
2 Points - If you've already answered this question in a past blog post, then leave a link below.
3 to 5 Points - Write your response in a new blog post.

I'll accept responses until tomorrow (Wednesday) at 3pm (PST). I look forward to reading your responses.

Happy Tuesday and sayonara!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Making It Rain!

Kirk Jacobson asked...

What is the most money you have spent on one single sports related item? We have seen a lot of your deals, when did you splurge?

If you're new to my blog, I should probably give you a little background before I divulge in my hobby finances.  So, let's get this out of the way.  I'm a middle school teacher living in the heart of Silicon Valley.  And how should I say this delicately?  Hmmm... let's just say... I don't have the opportunity to make it rain on a regular basis.

Now that we've gotten that out of the way... here's my response to Kirk's question:

The most I've ever spent on a single sports related item is $625 for a 16-box case of 2008 UD Masterpieces football.  I had just received my tax return and decided to blow some of it on cardboard.  In all honesty... I probably will never spend that much again, unless I marry a very rich sugar mama.  And that's not highly likely.

Prior to that... I purchased cases of
2008/09 Topps Signature basketball and 2009/10 Bowman 48 basketball, but neither of these broke the $500 mark.

My next highest purchase price is quite a drop. Last summer, I purchased a
16"x20" photo of The Catch, which is signed by Willie Mays for $119.95 (+ $9.49 shipping):

Now before you start showering me with feedback saying I overpaid... I had an
Amazon gift card that I needed to burn and I've always wanted The Say Hey Kid's autograph. In the end, my actual out of pocket expense was $29.44.

But that's probably not what
Kirk was looking for. So I'll stop beating around the bush and get to his answer. In terms of cardboard singles, my most expensive purchase was this 2003 Sweet Spot "Autograph" of Kirby Puckett:

I won this card in an auction on eBay earlier this year for $115.27 (+ $3 shipping) and it's the only card I have ever paid three figures for. But it's well worth it, because Puckett was one of my favorite players growing up and his autographs are tougher to find compared to other 80's & 90's stars.
Okay... it's your turn:
What's the most you have ever spent on a single sports related item?

1 Point - Leave your response below.
2 Points - If you've already answered this question in a past blog post, then leave a link below.
3 to 5 Points - Write your response in a new blog post.

I'll accept responses until tomorrow (Tuesday) at 3pm (PST). I look forward to reading your responses.

Happy Monday and sayonara!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

If you can't say something nice...

Then, write it on your blog.

With that being said... today's post isn't going to be pretty.  Well at least in my eyes.

dayf asked...

What is the ugliest card set you've ever seen?

Before I get to my response, let's point out the obvious: one man's meat is another man's poison.  So if I offend anyone, remember it's only an opinion and I make no claims to being the almighty "cardboard connoisseur"

In fact, my buddies still give me a hard time for having a huge crush on Kristi Yamaguchi:

The fact is... what I find attractive, others may find hideous... and vice versa. With that out of the way, here are my top submissions for ugliest card sets (sorted by categories):

The Bold

1995 Pacific Gold Prisms, 1995 Pacific Prisms, & 2000 Black Diamond Gallery

I have nothing against the use of prisms on cardboard, but in this particular collector's eyes... too much of a good thing, isn't so good.

The Gold

 1995 Zenith, 1996 Pinnacle, & 1997 Pinnacle

What's with Pinnacle's obsession with gold pyramids?  I know that gold is considered to be a precious metal, but IMHO the cards you're staring at are made of Fool's Gold.

& The Boring

 1990 Donruss, 1991 Fleer, & 1991 Leaf

In terms of cardboard designs, I can appreciate a wide spectrum of styles... including a nice, plain & simple design like the 1975 Topps baseball card set. But what you've just witnessed isn't plain & simple, it's inexcusable. If I were to guess, I'd say that the above cards were designed by a middle school yearbook staff with a 60 minute deadline.

I considered putting the 1988 Donruss and 1991 Donruss sets in this category too... but at least these two designs featured team logos.

I know... I know.  dayf asked specifically for one card set... not sets.  Well honestly, they're all pretty bad in my eyes.  But if I had to pick one... I'll go with this:

1996 Ultra Sensations

Hmmm... where do I begin?  Look at the design... or should I say, lack of a design.  There's no team logo.  You can barely see the first name.  And if that wasn't enough, it has a thick, gold, wicker border that covers 40% of the card.  This card is so bad... I had to steal the image off of COMC, because it's not in my Brett Favre binder.

Okay... it's your turn to answer dayf's question:

What is the ugliest card set you've ever seen?

1 Point - Leave your response below.
2 Points - If you've already written about this on your blog, then leave a link below.
3 to 5 Points - Write your response in a new blog post, then leave a link below.

I'll accept responses until tomorrow (Monday) at 3pm (PST).  I look forward to reading your responses.

Happy Sunday and sayonara!

Contest Standings Week #7 + More Prize Packages

We're on the final leg of this contest and I wanted to thank all of you who took the time to participate by leaving comments or writing blog posts. Tomorrow marks the six week mark and I'm thinking that we'll have things wrapped up by this Friday... with packages shipped out as early as next Monday.

Speaking of packages... here are a few more prize packages I'm throwing into the pot:

Prize Package K: Journeymen Lot

Last week, I wrote about athletes who held the record for most franchises played for in their sport. It included a pair of autographs, a couple of memorabilia cards, some inserts/parallels, and a rookie card. One lucky winner will own all of the above.

Prize Package L: Buck O'Neil Autographed 8x10

Mr. O'Neil is the oldest player to play in a professional baseball game. He was a legendary Negro Leagues player and the first African-American MLB coach. And the Baseball Hall of Fame has a lifetime achievement award named after him. Unfortunately, Mr. O'Neil passed away six years ago. 

Prize Package M: San Francisco Giants Lot

A few weeks ago, wholesalekeychain.com shipped me a couple of keychains to review on my blog and allowed me to keep them. Since I'm an A's fan, I can't use them.  So I figured I'd give them away. I gave the pewter one of my friends, but the winner of this prize package will receive the bottle opener key chain and a 2012 Toyota Buster Posey oversized promotional card.

With that out of the way... here's the current contest leaderboard:

1st Place - Richard Nebe Jr. (68 Points)
2nd Place - Play at the Plate (66 Points)
3rd Place - Ryan G (56 Points)

Along with the rest of the pack:

Stay tuned... the next post and contest question is scheduled to be published at 3pm today. 

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

The chosen ones...

The Dimwit asked... 

 Which is your all time favorite product in each sport you collect?

This was a very difficult question to answer, since I collect a variety of things and love them all. But I'm sure that's not the response he's looking for. So after 30 minutes of deliberation, here's what I came up with:

Baseball: 1983 Topps

1956 Topps baseball is my favorite baseball card design... but unfortunately... I don't have the funds to actively collect it. So my favorite set to collect would have to be the 1983 Topps set. I like the dual photo design and the fact that it holds my favorite player's rookie card.

Basketball: 2008/09 Topps Signature Autographs

A lot of people aren't big fans of sticker autographs and I'm one of those people. But I truly enjoyed the challenge of building this set. The 85 card checklist has a balance of both rookies (Derrick Rose), veterans (Dwight Howard), old timers (Spud Webb), and legends (Bill Russell). And since Topps used this product to dump their basketball stickers before losing their license, there was a wide range in production numbers: from J.J. Hickson (only 125 copies) to Nick Young & Yi Jianlian (6,225 copies each).

Football: 2008 Upper Deck Masterpieces

I'm a huge fan of Upper Deck Masterpieces in general. Any sport... period. But I just so happened to bust a case of this awesome product and speaking from a collector who rarely busts new products, I will say this... I have zero regrets. UD Masterpieces features a simple design, painted portraits, and a great checklist.

Hockey: 1997/98 Zenith Dare to Tear

Are you a fan of gimmicks?  If so, this was the product for you.  Pinnacle forced the collector to make a decision: keep the 5"x7" card intact or tear it open to reveal the regular issue card. Fifteen years ago, I busted a ton of this product and built both sets.

Now before I go too far, I'd like to publish this disclaimer: My selections were made off the top of my head.  Did I put some thought into it?  Of course.  But I'm getting old and my memory isn't as good as it used to be.  I've collected for over thirty years and I'm sure there are a ton of other sets I love to collect. So I reserve the right to swap some of these sets out if something else comes to mind.

So while I'm weighing my options over the next two to three decades... let's go ahead and see yours.

What are your all-time favorite products to collect in each sport?

1 Point - Leave your response below.
2 Points - If you've already written about this on your blog, then leave a link below.
3 to 5 Points - Write your response in a new blog post, then leave a link below.

I'll accept responses until tomorrow (Sunday) at 3pm (PST). I look forward to reading your responses.

Happy Saturday and sayonara!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Are you ready?

On Wednesday, I asked you to send me your sports or hobby related questions.  And as I write this post, around twenty people have responded.  I've already responded to most of the questions.  But over the next five, six, maybe seven days... I'll be posting my responses to remaining questions.

Your mission... should you choose to accept... will be to answer the same question.  But there's a catch.  I'm wrapping up this contest, so you won't have the two or three days to respond as usual.  It'll be a post a day from this point out.  Best of luck and thanks again for everyone's participation.  It's been a blast reading everyone's posts.

Okay... are you ready?  Let's get it started (in my best MC Hammer voice)...

Nick asked me... 

 How did you first decide to collect sports cards, and when?

Well Nick... it sort of depends.  The first sports cards I owned were in a shoebox filled with 1979 Topps baseball cards.  My neighbor gave them to me and it was like an early Christmas present.  I would sit there and sort them into teams, then positions, the back into teams... over and over again.  If I were to guess, I'd say this took place in the summer of 1980.

In 1981, my parents bought me my first complete baseball card set during a trip to Seattle.  The set?  1981 Fleer baseball.  Over the years, the set was broken up and sold off.  But a few years ago, I picked up some boxes of this stuff and rebuilt a hand collated set.


But if I had to put a date on when I actively decided to collect sports cards, I'd say it was in 1983.  That's when I started saving my money up to buy packs of Fleer and Topps at the local pharmacy.  It's also when the neighborhood kids and I started sitting on our porches together sorting and trading with each other.

Okay... now it's your turn to answer Nick's question:

How did you first decide to collect sports cards, and when?

1 Point - Leave your response below.
2 Points - If you've already written about this on your blog, then leave a link below, so others can enjoy reading your work.
3 to 5 Points - Write your response in a new blog post and leave the link below, so others can enjoy reading your work.

I'll accept responses until tomorrow (Saturday) at 3pm (PST).  I look forward to reading your responses.

Happy Friday and sayonara!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Journeymen Need Love Too!


Great minds often think alike.  These are the words of fellow collectors, sports fans, and bloggers in response to hearing about the trade that shipped Ichiro to the Yankees.  And truthfully... I agree with them 100%.

I hate to sound like a broken record, but I'll go ahead and say it again.  I have a huge admiration for athletes who spend their entire career with one franchise.  But in the era of "free agency", it's becoming more and more uncommon for athletes to stick with the same team their entire career.  Sometimes they leave for more money or an increased opportunity to win.  Other times, the teams can't or don't want to resign the players.  And of course there's the case of one of my favorite players... the aforementioned Ichiro Suzuki... who was shipped off in a trade.

This got me thinking... "which athletes hold the records for playing for the most franchises?".  After a quick trip to Google, here are the record holders for three of the major sports played in the U.S.:

MLB - Octavio Dotel

Last December, Dotel signed with the Detroit Tigers and made an appearance in the second game of the season to become the first player in MLB history to play for 13 different MLB franchises.

NBA - Chucky Brown, Tony Massenburg, Joe Smith, and Jim Jackson

All four of these guys have played for a record 12 different NBA franchises.

NHL - Mike Sillinger

During his 17 year career, Sillinger played for 12 different NHL franchises.  

NFL - ???

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find an official record holder for football.  But my research led me to the following football players.  Deion Sanders and Jeff George each played for five franchises during their careers.  Vinny Testaverde played for seven different teams during his 21 year career.  Jeff Brady, a retired linebacker from the 90's and Tillie Voss a tackle from the 20's each appeared in games for eight different teams.

So there you have it.  Who would have thought that Octavio Dotel, Joe Smith, and Mike Sillinger are all record holders?

Contest time.  Hmmm... I'm having writer's block, so I don't have a question or a challenge for you today.  So... why don't we do this.  

Ask me a sports or hobby related question.

2 Points - Post your question below and I'll try my best to answer honestly.
5 Points - I'll base my next post on 5 of your questions.  If your question is used, I'll award you with 5 points.

I'll set the deadline for Friday at 3pm (PST).  I look forward to reading and responding to your questions.

Happy Wednesday and sayonara!

Monday, July 23, 2012

2nd Place Isn't So Bad

This past weekend was tiring, entertaining, fulfilling, fun, and long awaited... all wrapped in one.

On Friday, my brother and I spent nine hours on the road as we left the Bay Area to visit our parents in Las Vegas.  Less than 32 hours later, we jumped back in my car and were on our way home.  But it was all worth it.

We spent Saturday with the whole family as we celebrated my father's 80th birthday.  My nephew and I woke up at 5am and shot a round of golf with the old man.  I won't go into specifics... but the old man kicked our butts.

2001 Upper Deck #70 Adam Scott RC

But at least, I now have something in common with Adam Scott.  We both played hard, but ended up losing to a couple of class acts.  Happy Birthday Papa Fuji... and congratulations Ernie Els on your second British Open Championship.

And if spending time with my family wasn't good enough... my beloved Oakland A's swept the New York Yankees this weekend.  According to ESPN, it was their first four game sweep over the Bronx Bombers since 1972.

To top it off... my favorite player, who lost his starting job last month, finally hit his first home run of the season.  Congratulations Kurt!

In honor of Mr. Suzuki... let's focus on athletes who aren't super stars.

Who is your favorite baseball player to never make a MLB All-Star team?

If you're not a fan of baseball, write about an NBA, NFL, NHL, or any other professional athlete who isn't considered a huge star in their sport.

Okay... after this long weekend, I'm tired.  So let's keep this simple.

5 Points - 1st person to respond to the question and explain.
4 Points - 2nd & 3rd people to respond to the question and explain.
3 Points - 4th through 8th people to respond to the question and explain.
2 Points - Everyone else who responds to the question and explains.
1 Point - Anyone who responds, but fails to explain.

I'll accept responses until Wednesday at 3pm (PST).  I hope all of you have a wonderful week.

Happy Monday & sayonara!

Contest Standings Week #6

I apologize for the late contest update.  Life has been pretty crazy and I haven't been able to find time to sit down in front of the computer.

But it's the final week of summer school... and sadly... the final week of my contest, so by the middle of next week, I hope to enjoy my two weeks off before I head back into the classroom.

So without further adieu, here are this week's leaders:

1st Place - Richard Nebe Jr. (56 Points)
2nd Place - Play at the Plate (55 Points)
3rd Place - Ryan G (47 Points)

And here's a look at the rest of the standings:

By the way... I'll be adding a few more prize later on in the week, so stay tuned.  In the meantime... since most people often skip these update posts, let's give out some extra credit points to those who take the time to read them.

In the comments section below... write down the first word that popped into your head when you heard about Ichiro being traded to the New York Yankees.

2 Points - First 10 responses.
1 Point - Everyone else who takes the time to respond.

I'll accept responses until 6pm (PST) tomorrow (Tuesday).

My next post should be published in the next 15 minutes or so.  Thanks again to all of those who have taken the time to participate.  Have a great week!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Saturday Night Five: IP Autographed Cards

We all know that there are a ton of fake autographs floating around the hobby.  That's why it's important to buy from reputable companies (like Steiner, UDA, and Tri-Star) and dealers whom you know and trust.  My buddy Mike is one of those guys.

We've been friends for close to fifteen years and he's the guy who showed me the "ins" & "outs" of obtaining "in person" autographs.  In fact, 95% of the San Jose Sharks autographed 8x10's and pucks were obtained with him at the San Jose Arena or their practice facility.

He's been acquiring IP autographs for over twenty-five years and is no doubt my "go to guy" when it comes to collecting "graphs".  

Recently, he showed me some of his IP autographed cards that he has acquired over the years and ended up letting me keep five for my PC.

Jan Stenerud - Packers PC

Tony LaRussa - A's PC

Jacob Green - Seahawks PC

Tim Raines - Expos PC

Steve Bartkowski - CAL PC

If they look familiar, it's because I used them earlier this week in my "Guess The Graphs" mini contest.  Now that you've seen the results... how'd you do?

Okay... time for today's contest entry.

Describe your best or worst IP autograph experience.  Who was it?  What made it special/memorable?

If you've never obtained an autograph in person, then...

Who would you want to me in person?  What would you have them sign?

1 Point - Leave your response below.
2 Points - Share one of your previous blog posts that answer one of the questions above.  Leave the link below.
4 Points - Answer one of the questions above in a new blog post and leave the link below, so others can enjoy it.

I look forward to reading your responses and will accept your contest entries until Monday at 3pm (PST).

This weekend is pretty crazy, so I won't have the Week #6 contest update until Monday afternoon.  I appreciate your patience.

Have a good weekend and sayonara!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

I Love the 80's #10: Nintendo NES System

These days, I power up my Playstation 3 on a daily basis. But it's not to play video games. I use it to watch TV shows on Netflix.


There was a time in my life... when video games and sports cards competed against each other for my attention. They both entered my life at about the same time: early 80's. But there's no denying that my Atari 2600 reigned supreme for the first few years. Then I started to play sports and with that my interest in collecting cardboard grew. This epic battle continued into my early 30's.

Some years, I preferred collecting cardboard... other years, I chose to pick up a controller and sit in front of the television.

1987 was a big year for me. That's when the war really heated up. If there was a pinnacle point in my "nerdhood"... this was it. It was the year I began buying cards as an investment.

That year, I also received my Nintendo Entertainment System for Christmas.

Unfamiliar with the NES system? It's an 8 bit console that set the standard for many future gaming systems. A few years ago, IGN named the NES the #1 console in the history of video games. Nintendo sold over 60 million consoles from its release date in 1985 until they officially discontinued it in 1995. As of 2009, over 500 million NES games have been sold.

Over the years, I've slowly built a small collection of games. And two weeks ago, it doubled in size after my buddy donated his system & games to me.

Unfortunately, I have everything a gamer needs to set this system up... except for one thing: SPACE. Maybe one day, I'll own my dream home with the cool mancave.

Which is why my NES is tucked away in my garage with all of the other clutter.

Okay... contest time. Here's today's question.

Outside of the sports memorabilia genre, is there anything else you collect?

If "yes", describe your collection. How long have you collected it? What's your favorite piece?
If "no", then describe one of your friends or family member's collections.

As usual...

1 Point - Leave your response below.
2 Points - Share one of your previous blog posts. Leave the link below.
4 Points - Answer the question above in a new blog post and leave the link below, so others can enjoy it.

I look forward to reading your responses and will accept your contest entries until Thursday at 9pm (PST).

FYI: The Guess The Graphs mini-contest is still on like Donkey Kong. Click here if you haven't submitted your guesses yet.

Happy Tuesday everyone and sayonara!